Letters – 4 – 28 – 2011

Mullin or Hsiao is wrong here  

In your True North Reports Wednesday, you quote Kevin Mullin:

I asked Senator Mullin a question I’ve been asking about alleged cost containment since the session began: will this calculation include the cost of wrap around policies purchased above the state provided benefit?

He replied, “Per capita spending is simply the total cost of all healthcare [emphasis added] divided by the number of Vermonters. The rate of growth per capita has been growing faster in Vermont than the US average. The good news is our spending per capita is less than the national average but we are catching up. I believe this is one of the most important benchmarks for measuring cost containment.”

In the Hsiao report (p4), [Hsiao] says,

At the heart of Vermont’s healthcare reform lies the challenge of controlling rising costs. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), national per capita health care spending grew an average of 5.5 percent per year from 1991 to 2004. Vermont’s per capita spending grew substantially faster, averaging 7.6 percent per year[8]. In 1991, Vermont ranked 42nd in per capita health care spending, but by 2004, the state ranked 9th, spending almost 15 percent more than the national average[9]. Vermont’s comprehensive coverage, while admirable, contributes to these comparatively faster rising costs, as health insurance coverage is correlated with higher resource utilization.

So Sen. Mullin’s point that our spending per capita is less than the national average is wrong (assuming Hsiao is correct).

Art Woolf

 

 

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